A Michigan judge found himself in the news recently because of the violation of a courtroom rule—and what happened next. Judge Raymond Voet has long had a policy forbidding the use of electronic devices in the courtroom. Anyone whose phone rings aloud has it confiscated and receives a fine. Over the years, attorneys, police officers, witnesses, and spectators have broken the rule and received the punishment.
During closing arguments at the trial, someone’s smartphone started talking. “I can’t understand you. Say something like Mom,” the phone requested. It was the judge’s new phone! “I’m guessing I bumped it. It started talking really loud. That’s an excuse, but I don’t take those excuses from anyone else. I set the bar high, because cell phones are a distraction and there is very serious business going on,” he said. “The courtroom is a special place in the community, and it needs more respect than that.” During the next break in the trial, Judge Voet held himself in contempt, and paid the standard $25 fine that he issues anyone who disturbs a trial. “Judges are human,” Voet said. “They’re not above the rules. I broke the rule, and I have to live by it.”
To live a life that is pleasing to God, we need to deal justly both with ourselves and others. The priority God places on justice is very high indeed. The prophet Micah wrote, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).